b. George Duke (a.k.a. Dawillie Gonga), 12th January 1946, San Rafael, California, U.S.A.
d. 5th August 2013, St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
George Duke was a fine producer, who had a previous pedigree as a fine musician in his own right, but chose the background role more increasingly in the last two decades.
He was aged four when musically inspired at a Duke Ellington concert.
George was also very keen on the musician Les McCann's musical output, along with Cal Tjader.
George worked with a trio in San Francisco during the mid-'60s.
Taking up the piano shortly afterwards, he had turned professional before he left high school.
George attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.
He played in a rock group before joining a Latin band called Jaxx Co-Op.
george with frank zappa and the mothers of invention
Moving to San Francisco, he led a resident jazz trio at a local nightclub while studying at the San Francisco Conservatory where he majored in trombone and composition.
He spent three years touring as pianist with Al Jarreau before discovering the electric piano and working with Jean-Luc Ponty.
Overheard by Frank Zappa in 1969, George was invited to join The Mothers Of Invention.
save the country - 1970 / the inner source - 1973 / faces in reflection - 1974 / feel - 1974
In 1970, he replaced Joe Zawinul in Cannonball Adderly's band, rejoining Mothers Of Invention in 1972, when Frank Zappa encouraged George to develop his vocals and work with synthesizers.
This he did, primarily as a session player while forming the Cobham / Duke Band with Billy Cobham and signing to Atlantic for 'Funky Side Of Things' and 'Life And Times.'
i love the blues, she heard me say - 1975 / the aura will prevail - 1975 / liberated fantasies - 1976 / from me to you - 1977
By the mid-70's he had signed with the MPS label where his albums were 'The Aura Will Prevail' (1975) and 'Liberated Fantasies' (1976) before he switched to Epic and began to make an impact on what was to become the UK jazz-funk scene.
reach for it - 1977 / don't let go - 1978 / the dream - 1978 / master of the game - 1979 / follow the rainbow - 1979 / brazilian love affair - 1980
His Epic albums included 'From Me To You' (1977), including 'Scuse Me Miss', 'Reach For lt' (1977), 'Don't Let Go' (1978), 'Follow The Rainbow (1979), including 'Party Down' and 'Say That You Will', 'Master Of The Game' (1979), including 'I Want You For Myself'; 'A Brazilian Love Affair' (1980), the title track being a U K Top 40 hit, 'Dream On' (1982), 'Guardian Of Light' (1983), and 'Rendezvous' (1984).
dream on - 1981 / guardian of the light - 1983 / rendezvous - 1984 / thief in the night - 1985
Also at Epic he recorded with Stanley Clarke as the Clarke / Duke Project on three albums.
In 1985 he switched to Elektra for 'Thief In The Night' (1985) and George Duke (1986).
george duke - 1986 / night after night - 1989 / snapshot - 1992 / illusions - 1995
As a producer he worked consistently through the 70's and '80's with artists including Flora Purim ('Carry On', 1979), Dee Dee Bridgewater ('Bad For Me', 1979), The Blackbyrds ('Better Days', 1980), Jeffrey Osborne ('Jeffrey Osborne', 1982, 'Stay With Me Tonight', 1983 and 'Don't Stop', 1984), Rufus ('Take It To The Top'), Raul De Souza ('Sweet Lucy' and 'Don't Ask My Neighbours'), Deniece Williams ('I'm So Proud', 1983, and 'Let's Hear It For The Boy', 1984), Angela Bofill ('Tell Me Tomorrow', 1985), Seawind, Howard Hewett, Larry Graham, Smokey Robinson, Sister Sledge ('Smile'), Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker and 101 North.
He has also written a movie soundtrack, 'The Heavenly Kid', and a three-part opera which he hopes a record company will release one day along with music for a ballet that he wants to compose.
is love enough? - 1997 / after hours - 1998 / cool - 2000 / duke - 2005 / dukey treats - 2008 / deja vu - 2010
In 2000, he returned with a new album 'Cool', which was well received by the critics.
'Dukey Treats' was released in 2008, followed by 'Déjà Vu' in 2010..
Additionally, in recent years George worked with Jill Scott on her third studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3'.
George, sadly, passed away in August 2013 in California.
Save The Country (Pacific Jazz Records 1970)
Live in L.A. (Sunset Records 1971)
The Inner Source (MPS Records 1973)
Feel (MPS Records 1974)
Faces in Reflection (MPS Records 1974)
I Love the Blues: She Heard My Cry (Polydor Records 1976)
The Aura Will Prevail (BASF Records 1976)
Liberated Fantasies (BASF Records 1976)
Live: On Tour in Europe (Atlantic Records 1976)
Solo Keyboard Album (Epic Records 1976)
Reach For It (Epic Records 1977)
From Me To You (Epic Records 1977)
Pacific Jazz (U.A. Records 1978)
Don't Let Go (Epic Records 1978)
Follow That Rainbow (Epic Records 1979)
Master of the Game (Epic Records 1979)
Brazilian Love Affair (Epic Records 1980)
Clarke/Duke Project, Vol. 1 (Epic Records 1981)
Clarke/Duke Project 2 (Epic Records 1983)
Secret Rendezvous (Epic Records 1983)
Guardian of the Light (Epic Records 1983)
Night After Night (Elektra Records 1989)
Dream On (Epic Records 1991)
Snapshot (Warner Brothers Records 1992)
Muir Woods Suite (Warner Brothers Records 1993)
Three Originals (Polygram Records 1994)
Rendezvous (Sony Records 1995)
Illusions (Warner Brothers Records 1995)
Is Love Enough? (Warner Brothers Records 1997)
After Hours (Warner Brothers Records 1998)
Cool (Warner Brothers Records 2000)
Face The Music (Warner Brothers Records 2002)
Duke (Dome Records Records 2005)
In A Mellow Tone (Dome Records Records 2006)
Dukey Treats (Heads Up Records 2008)
Dreamweaver (Heads Up Records 2013)